Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

PRELUDE

Happy Derby, y'all. I'll be at a different racetrack, the Fairgrounds in N'awlins, checkin' out the music, food, parades and more. Different strokes and all dat.

ON THE HORIZON

MARCO BENEVENTO AT THE HIDEAWAY

Keyboard artist Marco Benevento brings his trio, with bassist Dave Dreiwitz (from Ween) and drummer Andy Borger (from Ani DiFranco) to the Hideaway, 1607 Bardstown Road (502-485-0114) for a performance on Wednesday, May 12. Benevento, a player with jazz chops and a veteran of the jamband circuit with the Benevento/Russo Duo (which played here a few years ago), also plays with the current incarnation of Garaj Mahal. The tour is to support the brand new release Between The Needles & Nightfall,on the artist's own Royal Potato Family label (www.marcobenevento.com). A first listen to the disc (it arrived on deadline day) shows an eclectic and intriguing mix of piano, electronics, loops, and more. Benevento is a very energetic performer, and this should be a fun show.

2010 NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL AND 2009 MEMORIES

Weekend Two (Thursday, April 29 - Sunday, May 2) has for jazz fans the Stanley Clarke Band with Hiromi, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Beck (arguably rock), Marcus Miller, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Septet, Nicholas Payton, Astral Project and more. The complete lineup, ticket information and more is at www.nojazzfest.com.

In addition to the official website, there is much information to be had at http://swag.livejournal.com, and www.jazzfestgrids.com. The former includes constantly updated information about bargain hotels and air tickets, as well as music updates. The latter breaks down the daily nightclub and other concerts taking place throughout the city.

BELLARMINE JAZZ GUITAR CLINIC AND CONCERT

It's always a sure sign that summer is on its way when Bellarmine presents its annual Jazz Guitar Clinic and concert. Both John Stowell and Gene Bertoncini return as instructors this time. The dates are June 7-8 for the Clinic; the concert is Monday evening, June 7. I'll give more details next month; for further information now, you can e-mail Bellarmine Professor Jeff Sherman (jeff.sherman@insightbb.com) and go to the site: http://home.insightbb.com/~rush/Bellarmine/BJC_2010/welcome.htm

JAMEY AEBERSOLD'S SUMMER JAZZ WORKSHOPS

For close to four decades, the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops have featured a world-class faculty and not only high quality instruction, but an amazing series of faculty concerts open to both participants and the public at large. Preliminary (as of deadline time) faculty members include luminaries such as Steve Allee, Jim Rotondi, Jim Snidero, Steve Davis (both trombone and drums), Ed Soph, Rufus Reid, Dan Haerle, Phil DeGreg, Jerry Coker, David Baker, Jennifer Barnes (vocals), Antonio Hart, Gene Walker, bobby Floyd, Lynn Seaton, Corey Christiansen, Steve Erquiaga, Dave Stryker and many more. Other basic information:

Session A - July 4 - 9; Session B - July 11 - 16. There are also several 2-day sessions. For more information:www.summerjazzworkshops.com, or call or write Jason Lindsey, Administrator, Summer Jazz Workshops, PO Box 1244, New Albany, IN 47151-1244, or call 1-800-456-1388 ext 5.

The Louisville Jazz Society(on whose Board I have served for many years) sponsors a scholarshipto the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop. For more information and a downloadable application: www.louisvillejazz.org/education.php

RECENT CONCERTS

DICK SISTO'S "A LOVE SUPREME: THE SPIRITUAL MUSIC OF JOHN COLTRANE"

Vibraphonist Dick Sisto led a regionally based octet with saxophonists Rob Dixon and Bennett Higgins, pianist Steve Allee, bassists Tyrone Wheeler and Jeremy Allen, and drummers Jason Tiemann and Jonathan Higgins in a concert both well-conceived and well-executed, on Sunday, March 28, at the Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Louisville. Produced by Ken Clay's Legacies Unlimited, the setting was beautiful and the acoustics superb. As Coltrane fans know, much of the music of his latter career was deeply spiritual in nature, and the stained glass windows added to the presentation here. The first two songs, "Wise One" and "Dear Lord" were played in quintet variants of the ensemble with Sisto playing not only vibes, but supporting his fellow musicians during their solos with shakers. The rest of the concert included all the musicians. "Joy" featured a stunning bass duet. "Spiritual," on which Trane might improvise for 20 minutes, was played more concisely here, providing a showcase for Sisto's vibes and Allee's piano. The centerpiece of the evening was a moving interpretation of "A Love Supreme." Poet Mike B. gave a heartfelt reading of John Coltrane's poem/prayer found in the album cover, over Sisto's subtle balafon playing. The ensemble then performed three of the four segments of the suite, "Acknowledgment," "Resolution" and "Pursuance," with great feeling and high energy. An encore, an unrehearsed midtempo version of Coltrane's ballad "Naima" sounded anything but unrehearsed, as the musicians again played with heart and soul. According to a brief conversation after the concert with Clay, this may be the first of a series of musical presentations at the Christ Church Cathedral, to which I add my hope that this will truly come to pass.

JAYME STONE'S AFRICA TO APPALACHIA PROJECT AT THE KENTUCKY CENTER

Jayme Stone, a Canadian banjo player who became fascinated with the African roots of his instrument, brought his Africa to Appalachia ensemble (named for his Juno-winning album of the same name) to the Kentucky Center's Bomhard Theater on Thursday, April 15. The lineup was different than on the CD, and consisted of Griot Yacouba Sissoko, kora and vocals; Mike Barnett, violin; Brandi Disterheft, bass; and Nick Fraser percussion. What impressed me the most (aside from the incredible musicianship of all the performers) was the way in which Stone and company could go from African-influenced pieces to old-timey Appalachian fiddle tones and make it all sound organic and natural. Sissoko's playing on the harp-like kora was inspirational. Disterheft's bass showed what I later confirmed with her to have a strong jazz foundation (she studies with Ron Carter). Stone himself was a modest and engaging performer, who deserved a larger audience, although he told me that he was pleased with the very strong response from the concert goers. (Disclaimer: I previewed this for the Kentucky Center for the Arts' BackStage Pass magazine.)

SELECTED CLUB AND OTHER LISTINGS

The Comedy Caravan, 1250 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204, 502-459-0022 www.comedycaravan.com, has long been a venue for quality musical acts. The Don Krekel Orchestraperforms the second Monday of each month, which falls on May 10. Bobby Falk's "Night of Jazz,"will return on June 7, with, of course, the Bobby Falk Group, and featuring the Jerry Tolson Quartet. No other jazz bookings were planned as of deadline time, so please contact the club for any post-deadline shows.

The Seelbach Jazz Bar, (500 S. Fourth Street, 502-585-3200), features vibraphonist and occasional pianist Dick Sisto, who always provides excellent mainstream jazz, sometimes with guest artists joining him.

The Nachbar(969 Charles Street, 502-637-4377, www.myspace.com/thenachbar), features Vamp (saxophonist Jacob Duncan, drummer Jason Tiemann and a revolving crew of bassists) every Wednesday, and was featuring Squeeze-bot on Sundays; check the club for updates or changes.

Jockamo's Pizza Pub(corner of Goss Avenue and Krieger Street, 502-637-5406) now has jazz every Thursday night with guitarist Craig Wagner, drummer Jason Tiemann, and others.

The West Market Street Stomperscontinue their weekly gig at Bearno's By The Bridge, 131 W. Main St., on Fridays, from 5:30 7:00 PM. An added enticement, per their Newsletter, is a dance floor.

Jazzybluis located in the basement of the Glassworks, 815 West Market St., the homepage is www.jazzyblu.com. Attempts to sign up for e-mail updates for their listings have thus far been unsuccessful, so you might try the site or you can call at 502-992-3243 for information.

The Jazz Kitchen(5377 N College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46220; phone: 317-253-4900; www.thejazzkitchen.com), presents nightly offerings of local and regional jazz; check the website for the full schedule and updates. Some road trip-worthy shows: May 26: Derrek Phillips(for many years Charlie Hunter's drummer) & Manufactory; May 29: up-and-coming guitarist Jake Herzog.

The May schedule for The Blue WispJazz Clubin Cincinnati, 318 East Eighth St. (513-241-WISP), includes: Saturday, May 22: Dave Liebmanand CCM Faculty; Thursday, June 3; Garaj Mahal. Wednesdays remain the province of the Blue Wisp Big Band. For details and the full schedule, the website is: www.thebluewisp.com.

The Redmoor, Mt. Lookout Square, 3187 Linwood Avenue, in Cincinnati, 513-871-6789, www.jazzincincy.com. Two road trip-worthy shows in May are Don Bradenwith The Phil DeGreg Trio (May 6) and vocalist Tessa Souter's Quarteton May 13.

Please sign up for updated local jazz listings: The Louisville Jazz Society has revamped its website (www.louisvillejazz.org), and offers a new means to disseminate news of live performances locally: be sure to sign up for the e-mail "Louisville Jazz Society's Jazz Insider." It is both impossible for me to try to provide complete listings here, and it would be duplicative of the weekly listings in the Courier-Journaland LEOand the Louisville Music News'monthly music listings, in both the print and online editions (www.louisvillemusicnews.net).

EIGHTH NOTES

Louisville Guitarist Diego Palma: Straightahead Turn Left(self-released, www.guitaristdiegopalma.com)

Diego Palma released Straightahead Turn Leftin 2009, featuring himself on electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, drum sequencers, loops and samples, together with electric bass by Arturo Freire, and piano by Amy Tincher. All songs are original compositions, displaying influences from jazz, fusion, and Latin music. Palma's playing is on the money throughout. The title track opens the CD with a blast of energy. At the risk of oversimplifying this release, it should especially appeal to Pat Metheny fans. As this is written, Palma has announced on his website (www.guitaristdiegopalma.com) that he is close to finishing a new release.

Garaj Mahal:More Mr. Nice Guy(OWL-00135, www.owlstudios.com) andDiscovery(www.moogmusic.com)

For reasons beyond my comprehension, Garaj Mahal routinely plays Cincinnati and Indianapolis, yet it has been years since they have played here. Why?This is a topnotch band which has been together since 2000, with only a recent change in drummers altering (slightly) the sound. On Nice Guy, the sounds vary from the Asian fusion of the opening "Witch Doctor" to Mahavishnu-like funk on "Tachyonics" to the low-key, almost straightahead closing number, "Alison's Pony." Discovery, something of a companion disc, allows guitarist Fareed Haque, with the support of his bandmates, to explore the sound vistas of the Moog Guitar. Haque coaxes acoustic and electric guitar and keyboard sounds from the instrument, with an overall emphasis on funk. www.garajmahal.net

Grateful Dead: Road Trips, Vol. 3, No. 2 Austin 11-15-71(Rhino GRA2-6014, www.dead.net)

I went to see the Dead in Cincinnati on October 30, 1971 and since have heard a number of shows from that year. My personal experience and subsequent listening to other concerts from 1971 led me to believe in large part that the year was sub-par, lending credence to the then-recent quote from Jerry Garcia that ". . . we're like a regular shoot-em-up saloon band." This release is a pleasant exception, showing the band (during Mickey Hart's sabbatical and Pigpen's absence due to illness) could still jam, not just play songs. Especially noteworthy is the first set (!) medley of the cosmic "Dark Star" into the Marty Robbins cowboy lament "El Paso" and back into "Dark Star." The pre-encore second set features remarkable interplay on a 25 minute "Not Fade Away">"Jam">"Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad">"Not Fade Away." As always, the sound quality is excellent.

Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua/Jimmy Haslip/Chad Wackerman: Blues for Tony(MoonJune MJR029, www.moonjune.com)

For almost a decade, now, Leonardo Pavkovic's MoonJune label (named for the Soft Machine's opus "The Moon in June") has been releasing excellent fusion and prog albums, both newly recorded and archival. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth came up through the ranks of Soft Machine and the New Tony Williams Lifetime before embarking on a solo career. This new 2-CD set, recorded live in 2007, takes the Lifetime as an inspiration, not as a source of material. All but one song are originals by the band members. They range from the funky opening "Blues for Tony" through the Mahavishnu-like "It Must Be Jazz" through the lovely acoustic piano solo of "To Jaki, George and Thad" and more. While hard-edged fusion and funk are the main components of this set, there is a true jazz feel to the interplay and musicianship. Other recent releases from MoonJune include the edgy, electric Miles Davis-influenced self-titled release from Iron Kim Style; and Beppe Crovella: What's Rattlin' On The Moon? - Personal vision of the music of Mike Ratledge(dedicated to Soft Machine's keyboard player and co-founder, featuring shimmering reconceptions of Ratledge's compositions).

CODA

I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at mzkjr@yahoo.com.